Things are moving at a pretty pace in Detroit where General Motors' boss Ed Whitacre is plotting its much-heralded IPO.

Whitacre's impressive CV - including some of the US' largest companies such as the iconic AT&T - does not readily incline him to accept government largesse on the scale he did - but GM did so in order simply to survive.

The restorative medicine has now been taken and it appears GM is champing at the bit to get back on the basis of being run as what most Americans would term a proper privately-operated business that has no need to turn to the State for handouts.

Most automakers are starting to post startlingly improved Q2 and H1 results now - BMW last week was particularly impressive - but there's something about GM being so intrinsically American that it almost goes against the grain for it to have taken such massive public aid.

GM and Chrysler benefited to the tune of around a staggering US$60bn in bailout funds, that some have suggested has saved an extraordinary one million jobs including all the myriad components of the supply chain.

The irony has not been lost on Ford however, one of whose plants, architect of the mega-subsidy, President Obama, was touring yesterday and which did not request aid. Ford is now nicely turning the corner on its own two feet as it happens but GM was clearly different.

No automaker is an island. If Chrysler and GM had been allowed to go the wall - with all the massive social consequences that would entail - not to mention a huge hike in taxpayer-funded unemployment benefits - it would surely have impacted on Ford at some point down the chain.

It appears Republicans have been making quite a noise about the enormous auto subsidies, but frankly what was the alternative? To let the market do its brutal thing and throw the industry into - even more- chaos?

GM has turned the ship around and is heading for somewhat smoother waters. Financial institutions are being prepared so the US taxpayer can reduce his 61% stake "We want the government out, period," said Whitacre. "We don't want to be known as Government Motors."

No matter how loud the Republicans shout, this surely goes beyond purely partisan politics. The worst recession almost anyone alive today can remember has meant a certain amount of common ground has had to be met - look at Europe for example.

The taxpayer will - eventually - get his money back. Whatever your politics, a strong GM is surely good news all round?

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